The last week of April came and Donna and I packed up Lady and headed for Moab, Utah.  This year, we combined our trip with a group of friends from the web site.  Dave B. and his family were there (I met Dave and Jen in Moab last year) representing Idaho.  Mike & Shannon from Phoenix went up with us (we met them last year while Jeepin’ with a group of ham radio operators) and stayed till Thursday or so.

It was quite the get together.  Josh (aka., Shlingdawg from JU) put a lot of effort into organizing this little party.  Some of us stayed through the entire week while others came and went as their vacation time permitted.

The plan was pretty simple.  Every morning, we would meet in the parking lot of the City Market (Moab local grocery store).  From there, we would split up into one or more groups to run trails that were applicable to both the driver and vehicle’s capabilities.

On Sunday, we all met at the designated place and time.  Some extra time was spent as we all were finally able to put faces to the names that we had been exchanging e-mail with for such a long time.  I had promised several friends (who had not been to Moab before) that I would lead a run on a trail called Fins n’ Things.  This trail is a medium difficulty trail and has a little bit of everything that Moab has to offer.  The slickrock climbs and descents are very steep in some spots, but they are short.  Getting into trouble on this trail with others who have ran it would most likely take some doing.  As such, it is a great trail to get some experience on for the other Moab type trails.   

An added surprise came at the air down spot.  Josh reached into the back of his 8″ lifted TJ and pulled out flags for our CB antennas.  We spent a few minutes and tied on our 1st Annual Moab Run JeepsUnlimited.Com pennants.

You can see the black and white flags tied off to our CB antennas.  It looked pretty sharp and caused the JUers to “stand out” in the sea of Jeeps that cover Moab during this time of the year.

We ran the trail up until lunch time, and then stopped to eat at the overlook for Negro Bill Canyon.  We circled the Jeeps up at the end of the overlook trail and started in on lunch.  We were almost done with the sandwiches when a weather front started to move in and some very cold rain started to sprinkle down on us.  We wrapped up the lunch real quick and jumped back into the Jeeps to finish the 2nd half of the trail.

We were about 3 good slickrock fins away from calling it a day…..a mere half mile from the end of the trail when Josh took a hard line up a fin and blew his rear drive shaft u-joint.  

As you can see in the above photo, the u-joint is history.  The bad part was the sheered strap bolts that remained in the pinion yoke.  Those could not be extracted until later that day once we made it back to camp.  William and Josh removed the drive shaft and Josh was left to front wheel drive to get to the end of the trail.  He tried climbing the first fin, the one that took out the u-joint, but about 10′ up, the front tires just started to spin.  With an open front diff and much of the weight now transferred to the rear axle which was no longer pushing providing output, Josh couldn’t keep the front tires hooked up on the sandstone.  It was suggested that he turn around and try backing up the hill.  It worked…..the TJ pushed itself right to the top of the fin.  Josh admitted that backing down the other side was rather  nerve wracking, but he did a good job of it.  William came up to me later on and mentioned that he now understood why a rear locker can be a better investment than a front locker….especially when you are climbing an obstacle and the weight is shifted to the rear, as is often the case.  I have attempted to explain this situation to other Jeepers, often times with no success.

I asked Josh to pose for a photo with his drive shaft.  Josh was suppose to show up at Moab with a new pair of Dana 60s tucked under his TJ.  The shop couldn’t get them done in time so he ran his 38.5″ Swampers on the factory D44/D30 combination.  He got 5 days of wheelin’ out of it before the rear diff started coming apart (more on that when we get to the Golden Spike trail).

Moab 2001

On Monday, we again met in the parking lot of City Market and decided on doing a run up Moab Rim Trail.  This is one of my favorites and the first mile, which takes you up the face of the rim, keeps your attention focused on the task at hand.  A miscalculation on the part of the driver (or spotter) can result in the vehicle going over the edge with a direct drop to the highway far below.  As I said, this part of the trail keeps you focused on the task of getting your Jeep safely up and down.

Everyone wanted to run Moab Rim so we broke the group up into two sections.  This would make it much easier to manage the obstacles since much of the rim trail is single file and there are not a lot of places to park a large group while everyone takes their turn going over obstacles like the Devil’s Crack and the Z-Turn.

Here is Dave coming up to the Devil’s Crack.  I met up with Dave and his wife last year when we were running Fins n’ Things.  He was running solo that day and joined up with Joe and I, only to finish the rest of the week with us.  Since then, we have stayed in contact with each other and arranged to meet up for this year’s Moab run.  He had his wife and two kids with him this time.  His younger brother, Scott, was running his YJ and his folks brought their new stock TJ with them too.  Dave’s folks did not take their new TJ on this trail, but did a good job on several of the other less difficult runs.  We are already making plans to see them again next year.  Dave’s Dad, Virgil, says his TJ will be sporting a new lift by then along with some bigger tires and a rear rack of some type.

Here is Scott, Dave’s younger brother, taking his YJ up the last part of the Z-Turn.  We had to give Scott a bit of a bad time every now and then.  He was the only YJ in our group (for almost all of the runs) so there were lots of comments made about compliant suspension, flexing, and a variety of other things.  His stock gears and large tires made for a hot clutch every now and then.  When he cleared this last step, we saw from fluid draining onto the ground.  Scott quickly popped the hood and after all was said and done, it was determined that it was either washer fluid or radiator fluid (from the overflow container) that had sloshed out.

Tuesday morning rolled around and those of us that had ran Fins n’ Things on Sunday decided to use our Sand Flats user pass ($5 for 3 days) before it expired.  This meant that we were going to do Hell’s Revenge for sure.  We had a pretty good sized group and Josh suggested we might want to split it up like we did for Moab Rim.  I countered that Hell’s Revenge is a good trail for running larger groups and we decided to keep everyone together.  Josh led the way out to the trail head and then talked me into leading the run (something about me having a GPS track from last year).  I hope Josh made some GPS tracks of this year’s trails so he can lead them next time around (hint hint).

Let me start by saying that this trail probably provided more “on the edge of your seat” entertainment for all of us than any other trail we ran during the week.  We had several adventuresome individuals, namely Jim, Brian, and Ron, who decided to try a few of the optional obstacles and give us our money’s worth, to say the least.

We left the air down spot and headed along the trail.  The start of the trail, within the first 10′, puts you up onto a narrow fin and gets you up in the air real quick.  I was telling Donna that it was almost like jumping up onto a small sized Lions Back.  We continued on across the slickrock and made some impressive climbs and descents, several being 100 yards or better in length.  Hell’s Revenge is well known for its premier slickrock and in my opinion, offers the best slickrock wheelin’ of all of the trails in Moab.  The trail is fairly well marked which allows you to spend more time appreciating the scenery and wheelin’ rather than looking for the next landmark.

We got out to the overlook a bit before lunch time.  The overlook provides a breath taking view of the Colorado River.  Little did I know that we would be driving along the river later in the week as we headed up for a drive through the La Sal Mountains.

As luck would have it, we got to the lookout area while some folks from the another group were running Hell’s Gate, an optional obstacle that none of us had ever tried before (and most had never even seen).  

After watching some impressive wheelin’ and spotting, courtesy of the other group, a couple of our guys decided to give it a try too.  (like I said, we were going to get our money’s worth watching them in action on Hell’s Gate).

Here is Mike driving his XJ down the entrance of Hell’s Gate.  He had a great run coming out the exit of the gate, the best one from those in our group that tried, so we won’t be showing any shots of Mike while he is coming up the exit.

Here is Brian….and as you can see, he got off of the line, about 3/4 of the way to the top, while trying to exit the Hell’s Gate obstacle.  Since none of us had spotted or driven this obstacle before, you can probably understand why this might happen.  Brian gave it a number of good attempts, but finally ended up here which is where he stayed until Ron’s winch cable was attached to the front bumper and we got him back down on the ground.  Through all of this, Brian kept his cool and did not panic.  I think this little wheelin’ episode gave him some insight into running obstacles that may prove to be a handful. [insert big GRIN here]


Jim had his hands full during the half dozen or more attempts he made at trying to get out of the obstacle.  It became very evident that Jim’s heavy duty axles were not locking up.  His ARB air lockers where not engaging…..he was not completely aware of this but we could clearly see that the front axle was not locked as he worked his way towards the top, so many times.  

After he made it out, we took at look at his setup and sure enough, neither the front nor rear locker would engage.  Jim ran Hell’s Gate with both ends open.  No wonder he had such a struggle to get to the top!

Many of you that know me realize that I am not an avid fan of ARBs (oh Stu, say it isn’t so!).  I’ve seen way too many failures compared to Detroit lockers….and I have expressed this here on my web site.  What I will say is that Jim’s pressure switch failure (which resulted in no air pressure to activate the air lockers) darn near caused him to roll multiple times.  Murphy’s Law always follows Jeepers around…..”Anything that can go wrong, will”.  The more parts you have, the better the chances that one of them will fail.  It took us about 30 minutes to troubleshoot and replace the faulty pressure switch.  Luckily, Jim had a spare switch in his parts box (what ALL ARB owners need to carry).  Jim and I both got a good laugh over the fact that a Detroit advocate (me) was the guy that troubleshot the defective ARB component on his TJ.  I was glad that no one was hurt and of course, I got my 2 minutes of soap box time to talk about air lockers. [insert another BIG GRIN here] 

Update:  In January 2002, I received an offer from ARB USA that was too good to turn down.  Yes, I now run a pair of ARBs in Lady.  However, my belief in Murphy’s Law still holds true.  I was on the trail two months after my install with a friend, who has a nicely built TJ with a 9 month old ARB equipped Ford 9″ rear end, and it is blowing diff oil out of the solenoid exhaust port with a vengeance.  Either his o-rings have already worn out or he is the victim of yet another poorly performed install.  Either way, it will cost him to fix the problem unless the shop that installed it will step up to the plate and cover the bill, which they obviously should.

From Hell’s Gate, we got back on the trail and headed towards Tip-Over Challenge.  On the way, we had to pass by the Escalator, yet another optional obstacle.  As luck would have it, Ron and Jim decided to give it a try.  They both suffered minor body damage when the both laid their TJs over on the side.  Luckily, no one was hurt, but Jim got his over far enough that a winch was needed to pull him upright so he could finish the obstacle.

Moab 2001

By Wednesday morning, I had decided to take the day off and have the rear springs on Lady checked out.  We had some pretty high pucker factor moments on Hell’s Revenge.  My right rear spring was sagging badly and it was allowing Lady to squat on the back right corner when the trail was uphill and slightly off camber to the right.  Once throttle was applied, the drive train torque would lift her left front tire about 10″~12″ and we would end up walking up the slickrock on three tires.  We got many compliments for the show we put on, but it was getting hard to handle that kind of a suspension problem and still drive in a safe manner.

I arrived at Moab Off-Road a bit before their doors opened.  I spoke with a young tech that agreed that a spring swap between the left and right sides might be a good enough temp repair to get me through the remainder of the week.  It took him about 15 minutes (air tools certainly are nice) to swap the springs and I found a $20 bill to cover the minimum labor charge.

I stopped by the City Market before the guys shoved off and let them know I was not running that day.  Dwayne and William were also taking a breather as William was having a tire problem (slow leak) and wanted to attend to that.  William and Dwayne agreed to hook up with me, later in the afternoon, and burn a couple of hours on Poison Spider Mesa to see if the springs and tire were doing any better.  I wanted to do a quick checkout run before committing to a run with the group again.

In the mean time, I headed back to camp to see Donna.  I was happy to tell her that Lady was hopefully doing better and that we could do some “tourist shopping” in town and then catch lunch at the SlickRock Cafe.  She had just finished doing laundry so once that was put away, we headed into town and did a bunch of window shopping.  I got my customary T-shirt (Poison Spider Mesa for this year) and we managed to find a couple of things that we both had been looking for.  It was nice to take a break after 3 days of good wheelin’.  Besides that, we had agreed that Thursday would be the Golden Spike run.  On a good day, with no break downs, we figured it would take us 11 hours to run the Spike.  We needed this down time to get ourselves ready.

You can not directly access the Golden Spike Trail from either end.  The most common way to run this trail is to start at Poison Spider Mesa and run about 50% of it.  There is a turn off that takes you over to the start of the Golden Spike.  About 7 hours later, you should be finishing up the Spike and find yourself at the point where the Gold Bar Rim trail stops at the rim overlook.  So….you run the Gold Bar Rim trail backwards to the highway, which then finishes up your run for the day.  Last year, I spent a day on Poison Spider Mesa and led another day on Gold Bar Rim.  So….as you can see, Thursday was going to be a LONG day for sure.

On Thursday, we adjusted our gathering time for 7:00 AM at the City Market.  By 7:15, a small group of us headed off to Poison Spider Mesa, with Josh in the lead.  

We ran the Poison Spider Mesa section with no problems.  We stopped at several of the obstacles and took digital and video pictures.  Of course, everyone had a good time running the Water Falls and the Wedgie.  

Steve takes his directions from Josh as he works his CJ-5 through the Wedgie.  Josh and I gave the folks with the video cameras some great air shots as we exited the obstacle.  There is a hole that you can drop your right rear tire into and get some good air with your front left.

Here is William and Josh (riding shotgun up the obstacle) at the bottom of the Launch Pad.  Yes, it is rather steep.  (it didn’t get its name because it was an easy roll to the top, duh?)  William made it up OK, although he was thinking about the bypass at one point in time.  I was the first to crawl to the top, which put me at the top with a winch cable just in case someone got into trouble (which didn’t do much good for me, right?)

After the Launch Pad, we rolled on up to the top of Skyline Drive….a big slickrock dome that has a commanding view of the area.  We all paused up on top and Donna snapped this picture of us.  Yeah….that’s me in the middle….the good lookin’ one with the new Jeepin’ hat! [insert BIG GRIN here]  Left to right is Hans from CO, Josh from UT, Dwayne from OK, myself from AZ, Steve from OK, Dave from ID, William from CA, and Brian from CA.

So, we fast forward a bit past a number of un-named ledges and obstacles and get to the famous Golden Crack.  I once heard that the Golden Crack is THE most photographed obstacle in Moab’s maze of trails.  After watching everyone go across, I think I have to agree.  We shot more video footage and more digital stills of Jeeps here than any other place on the trail.  William had been living for months for this obstacle.  Quite some time back, on JU, he had made the statement that he was going to “Spank the Crack” when he got to Moab.  I am most happy to report that he did just that.  He was completely pumped up after he made it over.

Here is Josh taking his 8″ lifted TJ with 38.5″ Swampers across the Golden Crack.  Check out that droop on his front right tire.  Looks pretty good.  Getting in and out of that rig is no small matter either.

Here is Josh’s wife, Katie, giving you some perspective of the Golden Crack and his TJ going over it.  Yes sir, that is a long jump up to get into the shotgun seat.  Luckily she was only handing something into him and didn’t have to climb into the TJ at that point in time.

Moab 2001

After Josh rolled over the Golden Crack, it was Lady’s turn.  My main goal was to get a clean line over the crack and keep the wheel’s nice and straight while doing so.  I was not going to crank the tires off to one side and then dump a bunch of weight and torque to the axle u-joint and watch it grenade!

I rolled her up to the crack, putting first the driver’s side tire and then the passenger tire into the crack.  Check out that front flex in the above picture.  Pretty cool!  The crack swallows up my 35″x12.5″ MT/R pretty darn well.

As the driver’s rear tire drops down into the crack, the passenger front grabs some air.  Pretty difficult to keep all four tires on the ground in this case…you just don’t have enough flex to handle that.

As you inch forward, the weight then shifts to the passenger rear tire and causes your bumper (right side) to dig into the rock.  Everyone drags their bumper across the crack, as can be seen by the gouges in the rock.  I was VERY happy with my rear tire carrier.  As you can see, I am firmly down into the lowest spot I can get to and I still have a couple of inches of clearance under my spare tire.  Too bad the company that made it, Canyon City, is no longer in business.  (gee, maybe I got a collector’s item)

The only thing left now is to give her a bit of throttle, let the tires howl a bit, and pull out of the crack (which Lady did very nicely).  We all made it across the crack with no major problems.  Dwayne did manage to kind of do it differently, compared to everyone else.  Somehow or the other, he actually got his left rear tire to lift….ie., he stood on his nose in the crack.  Of course, we couldn’t let that go by without giving him a really bad time about it.

Moab 2001

After everyone had a cold soda at the crack, we saddled up and hit the trail again.  There are a number of interesting obstacles that lie between the Golden Track and the end of the Golden Spike trail.  

We tackled them one at a time, picking our way down steep ledges and up slickrock speed bumps, such as the one above.  I still love that Detroit Locker in my rear axle.  It does a good job on the sandstone keeping both wheels turning.  As you can see in the photo above, my front tires weren’t helping all that much.

At one point, Josh’s t-case locked up and he could not go forward or backward.  We still had a few obstacles to finish on the Golden Spike and all of the Gold Bar Rim trail to do.  I slipped around Josh and pulled out the tow strap… much for the 11 hour trail run, I thought.  We started toward the next rock ledge and had gone about 50′ when Josh happily announced on the CB that the t-case was once again working.  It appeared that his rear differential (which was giving him an increasing amount of trouble) had gotten a bit bound up and was keeping the t-case bound up as well.  I stopped and we coiled up the strap.  Luckily, it would only come out one more time before we called it a day.  Who would get that “Yellow Demon” hooked to their Jeep?

We finished up the Spike and started on the last leg of our day’s adventure, that being the Gold Bar Rim trail.  I ran the rim trail last year with Dave and some of his friends.  I had a good track of it in my GPS so I was confident that one way or another, we would get home (not that I did not trust Josh’s lead through out the day….but I was just happy to have a good track log should I have to take the lead at some point).

Moab 2001

From where we were, at the end of the Gold Bar Rim trail, most of the trail was down hill.  This was good since Josh’s rear diff was starting to sound bad by this time.  It would pop and snap every now and then and didn’t look to be having too much fun when forced into a tight turn.  There was one shelf that we would have to climb up onto, which may or may not be Josh’s undoing.

We got to the shelf and I tried a direct approach up the middle of the obstacle….hmmmm…..not too good.  A second attempt proved just as bad as the first.  We talked a bit and decided that some rather large boulders that stood off to the end of the obstacle might just allow us to climb across them and onto the upper portion of the rock ledge.

Both Josh and I made it over with no problem.  Here is Dave making a go at it.  This is when we discovered that 33″ tires were not high enough to clear the rear differential.  Josh’s 38.5″ Swampers and my 35″ MT/Rs provided us with enough ground clearance.  Dave got hung up but after a few rock stacking attempts, we were able to get him up and over as well.  The remaining Jeeps were at 33″ or less for tire size, so we tried the opposite end of the obstacle (Donna had made this recommendation earlier but I didn’t try it then).

It worked pretty good.  If you hugged the extreme left hand end of the ledge, and worked on NOT getting your sheet metal rearranged, you could crawl up onto the ledge.  From there, it was a matter of negotiating a few rocks, keeping again to the left, and you were home free.  

Well….that is unless you are named William.  As you can see, William found a new part of the obstacle that also likes to grab differentials and make life difficult for you.  Oh yeah….Donna tried her best to convince William that this was the wrong line.  It took us about 30 minutes to free his TJ….he really got it tucked in there nice and tight.  

But hey, we were on vacation, and William wasn’t going anywhere fast until we hooked that yellow strap on Brian’s TJ and he gave William the necessary forward assistance to separate the differential from the rock.

The remainder of the Gold Bar Rim trail proved to be uneventful.  It had a few more ledges, but these were caught going downhill too.  Like my old Jeepin’ buddy told me when I first got Lady….”It is a lot easier to fall off the rock than it is to climb up onto it”.  I guess he really was right.

Moab 2001

Well, we finished the last of the Gold Bar Rim trail and called it a day.  We were right at 11 hours of trail time and we all agreed that it was enough for anybody for one day.  We finished with no carnage and everyone was happy that Josh made it back to base camp OK.  (I think he was REALLY glad about it).  His rear differential was sounding VERY nasty by the time we pulled off the highway and into the campground.

Friday morning rolled around and I met up with the guys at the City Market, same as usual.  Dwayne had left early in the morning as he had a long drive back to OK.  We had said our goodbyes the night before.  I had taken some time and gone through my trail book the previous night.  Donna and I decided that it might be fun to head up to the La Sal Mountains.  We had been looking at their snow capped peaks all week long from the various rims and cliff edges we had climbed on.  So hey, why not visit them first hand?  I had wanted to do it last year but never got the chance.

We discussed the idea with the other guys (Dave, Brian, William, Josh, Virgil, etc.) and they too agreed that an easy day of site seeing would be in order.  William was going to hit the highway back to CA as soon as we wrapped it up.  Josh was going to head for home too, but his tow rig would serve him just fine for a run up to the mountains.  We weren’t doing anything harder than a road rated 1.5.

We headed north out of Moab and caught the tar road that follows the Colorado River for many miles.  It was relaxing….a bit of an overcast day….some clouds blocking the sun every now and then….temp was just right.  Oh yes, a nice day it would be.  We would stop somewhere up where it was cool and have lunch, then head back to town and say goodbye to our friends that were leaving.

As we climbed up out of the valley that the river ran adjacent to, the view became every so beautiful.  Castle Rock can be seen in the distance in this pic.  Moab sits at about 4000′ above sea level.  Before our day would end, we would hit 8500′ on our drive through the national forest (yes, it really does have trees…..lots of aspen trees).

We found another spot to take some photos so I snapped this one of the group.  In front is Lady, followed by Brian, Josh (in the tow vehicle), Virgil, Dave, and William is bringing up the rear.  Note here that William is in the rear…..this will be an important point once we get a few more miles down the road.

We continued to drive and gain altitude as our road trip took us deeper and deeper into the mountains.  By this time, we had seen numerous deer, and before we called it a day, we would also come across 3 coyotes and other numerous little ground based animals.

At one point, we passed a turn off to a small lake.  We were about 2 blocks down the road when a quick radio check confirmed that this might be an excellent spot for lunch.  It was getting close to noon and Virgil said he would really like to see the lake.  Not having any side roads available for a turn around spot, we all executed a 3 point turn (OK, Josh did about a 5 point turn with his truck) and headed back to the lake turn off.  Now….realize who is in the lead….yes, you remembered….it is William.

Now after William got stuck after getting over that ledge on Gold Bar Rim, we had been giving him a pretty bad time most of this morning….comments about his ability to pick the really bad lines….stuff like that.  So here we are, with William in the lead, heading up to this lake we have never seen before.

Donna and I noticed it was a bit dusty, being in the back and all, so we hung back a ways to let the dust settle.  There was a lot of radio chatter going on and I wasn’t paying too much attention to it since there was this swollen little stream bubbling along the side of the road….the snow melt had the water rushing through it and making quite the noise.  It sound so peaceful and just made you want to forget about the rest of the world and call this spot home forever.

Yep….you guessed it….with William in the lead, he lead us right into the snow and somehow or the other even managed to get Dave stuck.  Now Dave getting stuck in the snow is not anything new, according to his Dad.  It seems that he does this on a pretty regular basis up in Idaho when he goes out hunting in the fall.   

Dave grabbed a tree saver and climbed up into the snow (you can see his track in front of the TJ on the right side of the picture) to wrap it around a big aspen tree.  He attached the winch cable to it and proceeded to winch himself around on the road.  He ended up hooking the winch cable to William’s bumper to get himself out of the last of it.  This snow was melting quickly and was really wet and heavy.  Traction was not too good, as you can see.

Once everyone got turned around, we went a 100 yards back down the trail and pulled off to the side and enjoyed our lunch.  We were in shorts and t-shirts and were still comfortable.  What a blast.  I never thought I would be spending a day at the snow line when we were originally planning our off-road trip.

Moab 2001

Saturday was our last day to run any more trails.  William, Josh, and Dwayne had left the previous day.  We met up with Dave and his family and headed on down to the City Market to see who was left.  Several of our other friends were saying good bye and heading back to various locations….one as far away as Florida (Jim and Dolly).  

We met some knew JU folks who had come up for the weekend to do some Jeepin’.  Dave and I both agreed that we weren’t going to do any really tough trails since we would both be heading out in the morning….and getting something fixed late on a Saturday night or a Sunday is hard to do.  I knew that Virgil, with his stock TJ, wanted to run another trail with us, so the high end ones were not on the menu for today either.  We decided to give Seven Mile Rim a try.  It is rated difficult, but only has a couple of tough obstacles that can be bypassed which meant Virgil should have no problem hanging with us.

We acquired some new JU Jeepers and the group was once again up to 9 or 10 vehicles.  They all agreed that Seven Mile Rim would be just fine so we headed north out of Moab to catch the trail head.  At the trail head, I aired down for the 2nd time since getting to Moab.  (I had aired back up and reconnected my front sway bar for the long road trip through the La Sal Mountains.)

I had the waypoints (but no track log) in my GPS for this trail.  Donna was put in charge of the written directions from our trail book and off we went.  We made a couple of wrong turns early on but once we got use to the wording in the directions, it was not too bad.  The only other really confusing section of the trail was when we were coming up on Wipe Out Hill.  We had to cross a very large expanse of slick rock and there were no karins by which to navigate.  We resorted to some trial and error scouting on foot until we found the trail.

The trail runs along a very high rim that overlooks the area and provides for some great views of the countryside.  

Not too far off the main trail is a little side track that takes one down to Uranium Arch.  We went down to see the arch and and take a few pics.  I snapped one of Virgil and his wife Rosie as they stood on top of it.  Pretty cool up under all of that rock.

We headed out on the trail, stopping here and there for photos and to stretch our legs.  The pic above was taken at a location where the rock climbers (the people, not the Jeeps) like to crawl up the rocks….Determination Towers.

We also stopped at Wipe Out Hill and a couple of the new guys climbed down and then back up again.  After this optional obstacle, we headed towards the end of the trail and finally back out to the highway where we aired up for the next day’s drive back to Phoenix.  At one point, we were running in a wash that had a small trickle of water running through it, compliments of a near by spring (I found the spring on my topo maps later.)  They say that water in the desert is a precious thing and by the HUGE amount of butterflies that were in this part of the wash, I guess it was true.  They were everywhere you looked.  Apparently some kind of hatching had just taken place.  Anyway, it was quite a sight to see.

Our last day in Moab was as good as our first one….in fact, it was probably better because no one broke a u-joint and it didn’t even hail on us.  We had a great time with our friends, both the new ones and the old ones.  We look forward to seeing everyone again next year and hitting some new trails.

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